Motorcycle Review of the MV Agusta F4

roadtest

Dave Hatch | Host 

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2012 MV Agusta F4 Motorcycle Review

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When it comes to motorcycle racing, the Mark MV Agusta is an Italian company with a racing heritage that’s as rich and tasty as my neighbor’s fettuccini. During the glory days of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, MV Agusta dominated the European roadracing scene with riders with names like Surtees, Hailwood, Reid and of course the legendary Agostini, all in scoring over 35 world championships. Fast forward now to behold one of the brand’s newest road racing inspired weapons: the sleek F4. At the heart of this machine is a fuel injected radial valved 998cc inline four, but it’s the eye candy that truly impresses. The fully adjustable 50mil marchochi fork with its monster radial mono block brembos, then theres the chrom a lyoid frame with it’s artfully welded tubes and castings, the single sided swing arm- and just check out those wheels. And did I mention the 4 organ pipes exiting from under the rear saddle? It’s gorgeous to look at, but how does it ride? Well that’s just what we asked Road Racing journalist Colin Fraser and long time full time professional road racer, Steve Walker.

Colin Fraser
I have ridden MVs in the past and I enjoyed them a lot, they’re a lot of fun, they have a lot of personality, they can be a little bit raucous, a little bit- I don’t want to say unfinished but a little rough around the edges. So I was hoping that the bikes had kept their personality, hadn’t become a universal style type sport bike, but maybe a little more polished and I would say this bike nicely splits the difference. So, right away it’s pretty refined, what really stood out for me initially is, I remember these bikes being fairly peaky with the power up high- this thing has incredible torque and pretty good power delivery. It’s a little bit bumpy down low but at 4- 5000 Rpm, this thing runs great and you can do that in the tight turns and of course this is a bike that’s not really well suited to a tight, tight track, the one we’re using today here on the Nelson Track at Shannonville. But in terms of being able to use the bike and ride it for fun and safely in what is a relatively restricted area, it actually is great and that’s largely the throttle response. The bike has lots and lots of mid-range. Now you get it up to 7000 Rpm things start to happen in a real hurry and it gets very exciting, it clearly is a 1000cc sport bike. But compared to my memory of the bigger MVs I really like it that this bike has really picked up some mid-range and it’s a little better behaved on the throttle. But the issue for me is: is this a unique experience, right? If you’re gonna spend this kind of money on any kind of sport bike, and they’re all good these days, are you gonna get something different? Something unique? Something that isn’t like the others? And that’s getting harder to do given that we’re so narrow focused and track performance is so essential in this category so I think would this be a nice street bike? Sure it would. To take on the track occasionally would you have fun, is the bike fast enough, does it handle well enough, would you be comfortable riding it hard and the answer for sure is yes and I think it’s a very polished product and actually pretty good value for money which is not something previously we might not have said about an MV Agusta.

Steve Walker
I’ve been racing the open road BMW S1000 double R for the past two years so I’m pretty familiar with that bike. One thing about this bike is it’s a very compact feel, it’s got a wicked induction noise, it just- you want to hear that over and over again, very quiet exhaust note though, so your neighbors aren’t gonna hate you. The riding position is very compact, a little more compact than what I’m used to. The brakes are great. Between the router and pad compound they got it right. The brakes are perfect from the first time you pull them to the time they’re warmed up they didn’t feel any different at all. And the power- the power’s very good. The power’s supposed to be 180 horse power, didn’t quite have the hit that I was used to on my race bike but it’s got very good power. We didn’t really get much of an opportunity to adjust the suspension so we kind of left it how it was. It’s set up for the road, it’s a little soft here at the race track. The gear box feels very good, it’s geared for the street so you know we’re weren’t doing a lot of shifting but one thing I noticed especially going into turn two is the slipper clutch on this was fantastic. It does not feel like a production slipper clutch, it feels like one that’s been highly tuned, the down shifts you just change the gear, drop the clutch and it takes care of the rest. It’s a compact bike but everything’s where it should be. There isn’t a long stretch to the bars, the seat isn’t angled in such a way to drive you up towards the tank, the foot pegs are actually in a very good position, I don’t know if I’d want to go across Canada on it in 5 days, maybe a little longer. After a few laps I would say that it’s a beautiful bike to look at. You know this is one that could just sit in your garage and stare at for a long time. It’s a bike that- it brakes very well. It’s got lots of power and the doodads on it are fantastic. You know, everything about this bike, it’s got all the bells and whistles that you really wanna have. It’s got the steering damper right up front. Everything’s adjustable so you know a bit of time on this and you could really get this thing going well. You know, I don’t know if I’d turn this into a race bike but you know, for a street bike that you could, you know, go and do some you know fast mountain roads and go to the Tim Hortons and just look at it. I think it’s a winner.

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